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On Pens & Sketchbooks

March 4th, 2013 by

halfway-through

I don’t know about you, but I like to have a dedicated Sketchbook Pen when messing around in my smaller, everyday sketchbooks. Long ago, there was a Uniball pen that made some really great doodles.

Now, I’ve been terrible at filling sketchbooks. On the right you can see Mitch’s Sushi, my current Moleskine. Yes, I named it. I show it there as it’s maybe three-fifths of the way full. It wasn’t until I came across Gary Panter’s drawing tips that I finally started carrying it with me everywhere. That article is probably 50% of how I got into a better sketchbook habit.

Before reading that, I had wanted to have a full sketchbook. After reading, I realized that naming a sketchbook can be pretty powerful. Would you rather look through a sketchbook, or browse the mysteries of Mitch’s Sushi? Eh? Afterwards, I wanted to fill Mitch’s Sushi with all kinds of stuff. Combine that with Just Fuckin’ Draw and there’s a real nice recipe for doodling, experiments and sketching your way to filling more than one sketchbook a year. A year is a good plan because if you fill it early, you can start a second. I tried filling a book a month once and it ended about 8 pages in.

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Back to pens. After the most recent fave bit the dust, I headed to possibly the worst Office Max around because I knew they’d have some sort of demo station there. What I didn’t know was that it would take me over 30 minutes to figure out where the pens were. The demo station was along one wall, while the pen I really liked was not labeled, nor even in a 20-foot radius near the demo station as I later found out.

 

I walked back & forth so many times there’s probably a rut in the carpet due to my searching. It didn’t help that the pen had no words on it either, other than TUL on it.

I wouldn’t have spent so much time on this if it weren’t so important to a fun drawing experience. Using a pen that doesn’t work properly every time or skips in the middle of a line is frustrating. The demo pen I found was  fantastic. When I finally found the package I noticed the had some felt-tipped style pens, very similar to the Sharpie Pen. Those are super great, but the barrel is too skinny and leaves me hand cramping after using it for a long period of time. The TUL version of the Sharpie Pen has a thicker barrel and rubber grippy parts and makes for much more comfy doodle time.

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The packaging is super nice in that no knife is required to open it. It was secured with just pressure.

The only thing I don’t enjoy about them is that none of the pens with black ink are water resistant. The blue felt-tip pen is, but the black one isn’t. Interesting.

I’m pretty happy with these silly pens and I’ve done most of my sketchbooking with them since they were obtained. 90% of the drawings in Mitch’s Sushi have been done with them, so maybe that can help you if you’re struggling. Find a favorite pen. Buy a few of ’em in case you lose or break some. Then get to doodling.
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